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Call for proposals and papers for the working paper series on public finance and service delivery


This call has now closed. If you are interesting in joining our Public Finance mailing list to hear about future calls, please email [email protected].

What we are looking for

This call for proposal and papers for the working paper series seeks to attract practical, policy-relevant research and analysis that contributes to a more inclusive and interdisciplinary agenda on public finance and service delivery with greater learning across professions, specialisms and sectors.

The call is aimed at researchers and practitioners from various fields and disciplines, inviting one of two types of contributions:

  • A call for proposals, soliciting proposals for full research projects including data collection and analysis. This option is most suitable for researchers who have an interesting research idea or question and are looking for financial support to implement it. In this category, applicants may apply for an amount of up to £20,000 in funding.
  • A call for papers, requesting an extended abstract of a working paper. This option is most suitable for practictioners or researchers who have already gathered interesting insights and findings based on previous data collection and analysis, or personal observation and experience, and are looking for financial support to turn them into a publication. It is explicitly directed at government officials or advisors as a way to help them share their wealth of insights gathered on the job. In this category, applicants may apply for an amount of up to £8,000 in funding.

Please refer to the call for proposals and papers document for more information.

The main focus of this research will be on sub-Sahara Africa, although contributions examining other low- and middle-income country contexts will be considered as well. We welcome research on any service sector (education, water, agriculture, transportation, public works, etc.) while taking a particular interest in health.

We are also keen to include research using comparative frameworks that contrast different geographical areas within or across countries, service sectors, institutional arrangements, or procedural approaches. The research can use a qualitative, mixed-methods or a purely quantitative approach. Primary data collection in the field is encouraged but not required. Making use of administrative datasets is welcomed.

Expected outputs for successful submissions

Proposal and papers that are selected for funding are expected to produce the following outputs over the course of the funding period:

  • A peer reviewed working paper presenting key research findings of the research
  • One additional output (a blog post, briefing note, policy brief or conference presentation) to promote the working paper and enhance the dissemination of key findings and policy recommendations emerging from the research

Deadline for submissions

16 May 2021, 23:59 BST (UTC+1)

Submission requirements

For proposals:

  • A research prospectus in narrative form (up to 2,000 words) outlining research questions, motivation, policy relevance (potential target group of policy recommendations), research methods and analytical approach, as well as a timeline for data collection and analysis
  • Application form
  • CV
  • Proposed budget

For papers:

  • An extended abstract of the working paper in narrative form (up to 1,500 words) outlining the research question, context and motivation, research methods and analytical approach, key findings and policy recommendations.
  • Application form
  • CV
  • Proposed budget

Financial support provided to accepted submissions is funded through the generous contribution of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.